Don’t let your parents decide your vote

Columnist Sierra Lyons. Photo by Lyons

Being in your late teens and early twenties can be a thrilling time of your life. Embarking on your collegiate experience, moving out for the first time or gaining a new sense of independence are exciting life changes that many people are navigating at this age. Exercising your civic duty by voting is another new life event that many people in this age group experience. That’s why it’s so important to make your vote count for yourself.

Many students at Florida A&M University are first-time voters for the 2020 election. With early voting starting Monday in the state of Florida, many are preparing to cast their ballots for the candidate and amendments they best see fit. Unfortunately for some, weighted pressure from external pressure such as parental influence can make a once exciting experience, a dreadful one.

For many, the world of politics is fresh and new. A lot of students’ eyes were open to politics in a new way when they became young adults who saw how policies and leaders impact them directly. But unfortunately, so many young adults will align themselves politically and vote for policies they don’t even understand, simply because their parents vote a certain way and urge them to do so as well.

According to, family is among one of the top contributors for shaping political attitudes.

“Families are generally the first, and often the most enduring, influence on young people’s developing political opinions. As people grow older, other influences crisscross the family, and naturally their attitudes tend to diverge from those of their parents,” said.

As we have seen issues ranging from global health to racial justice at the forefront of our news cycles this past year, more young adults have been politically engaged and are looking forward to making their voice count in this election.

In a study conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, it shows the substantial increase in voter enthusiasm from young adults in comparison to 2016.

“Young voter enthusiasm and the likelihood of turning out are very high. 63% of respondents indicated they will ‘definitely be voting,’ compared to 47% during this same time in 2016,” the study said.

According to the same study, it found that young Americans now view the economy as the top issue in this presidential election. It seems as though more and more young Americans are beginning to look at the state of our nation for themselves, and form their own opinions on how they believe these issues can best be resolved.

In the state of Florida, a lot is on the line for each of our votes as Florida is a swing state that could completely change the trajectory of the national election. But even within our cities and local communities, voting on judges and congressmen are extremely important decisions to make when considering the changes they would bring directly to our neighborhoods. That’s why educating yourself as a young adult and casting your vote based off who you believe can best lead our communities isn’t a responsibility you should leave up to your parents, or anyone else for that matter, to do for you.

So while casting your vote based on your parents’ beliefs may seem to be the easy way out, it’s important to remember that your own values and beliefs should ultimately shape your actions. Older generations may not value the same policies as younger generations and vice versa. When you walk into that voting booth, remember: Vote for what YOU believe in.